medieval castle, also employed traditional defenses. The entrance was at second-floor level and approached by a drawbridge across the moat; attackers then faced a portcullis, beyond which there were heavy, iron-studded oak doors. The gatehouse ceiling was penetrated by five “murder holes” (gun slots for small arms), and a cannon protected an inner door. In the manner of earlier keeps, the central tower was self-sufficient: its basement had supply and ammunition stores and a well. The garrison was quartered at ground level, with a mess hall with fireplace and bake ovens. The upper story housed, rather more comfortably, the captain of the guard.

The anticipated Catholic assault never came. Although Deal was again readied in 1588, this time to repulse the Spanish Armada, once more no invasion eventuated. Late in the English civil war the fortress was held briefly by the Royalists, but they surrendered after a sustained bombardment. In the eighteenth century Deal’s parapets were altered (some say disastrously) in unfulfilled expectation of attacks during the French Revolution, and again during the Napoleonic Wars. No shot was fired in anger until the German bombing of 1941. Since 1984 Deal Castle has been in the care of the Department of the Environment (now English Heritage).

See also

Dover Castle

Further reading

Morley, B. M. 1976. Henry VIII and the Development of Coastal Defence. London: H.M.S.O.

O’Neil, Bryan H. 1966. Deal Castle, Kent. London: H.M.S.O.

Saunders, Andrew D. 1982. Deal and Walmer Castles. London: H.M.S.O.


The Netherlands

The Deltaworks comprises a series of audacious engineering projects that effectively shorten the coastline of the southwest Netherlands by about 440 miles (700 kilometers), seal outlets to the sea, and reinforce the country’s water defenses. Taking more than forty years to complete, the works involved the construction of huge primary dams totaling 20 miles (30 kilometers) in length, in four sea inlets between the Western Scheldt and the New Waterway, Rotterdam.

The Netherlands is located in the broad deltas of the Rhine, Maas, and Scheldt, and the small country’s history and geography have been greatly influenced by a continuous struggle against the rivers and the sea. Through the coincidence of several events in 1953, the southwestern provinces suffered huge floods in which nearly 2,000 people died and thousands of homes were destroyed. The central government quickly reacted, and the Ministry of Transport, Public Works, and Water Management set up the Delta Committee to devise measures to avert a future disaster. The plan informed the Delta Act of 1958, but its implementation, placed in the hands of a complex instrumentality known as Delta Service, took over four decades to complete.

The major elements of the plan were achieved in the following order: the Hollandse IJssel storm flood barrier (1954–1958), the Zandkreekdam (1957–1960); the Veerse Gatdam (1958–1961); the Grevelingendam (1958–1965); the Volkerakdam (1955–1977); the Haringvlietdam (1956–1972); the Brouwersdam (1963–1972); and the Oosterschelde storm flood barrier (1967–1986). The vast scope of the Deltaworks cannot be fully described here, but it may be measured by a brief overview of the largest, most difficult, and most expensive phase: the Oosterschelde (Eastern Scheldt) storm, flood barrier, immodestly referred to by its builders as “the eighth world wonder.”

It was originally intended to close off the Oosterschelde with a permanent dam, and work started in 1967. By 1973 joining das between parts of the coast had closed 3 miles (4.8 kilometers)—more than half—of the river mouth, and three sluices had been built. Then, in response to public protests, it was decided to construct a storm flood barrier instead of completely closing the estuary. Huge concrete pylons standing on the river bottom would support gates that could close to resist storm surges; a concrete roadway would cross the structure. The government signed a contract with the consortium De Oosterschelde Stormvloedkering Bouwkombinatie in 1977. A 3,000-yard-long (2.78-kilometer) access bridge was built to the 50-foot-deep (15-meter)